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Allen Parkway Realignment and Intersection Improvements

Community-centric scenic bayou drive

Project Facts

Location Houston, Texas
Owner Downtown Redevelopment Authority


Walter P Moore engineered a roadway enhancement endeavor that bolstered public safety and accessibility to Buffalo Bayou Park. This project implemented measures such as reducing speed limits and integrating extra crosswalks, yet managed to optimize traffic flow, resulting in minimal disruptions to commute times. The outcome imparted a welcoming ambiance to the thoroughfares encircling the park.

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About the project

Walter P Moore led a design and planning team that rehabilitated heavily traveled Allen Parkway near downtown Houston to safely accommodate more vehicles while providing better access to the adjacent bayou parkland, which sees substantial daily recreational use and hosts frequent large events. The new, safer parkway creates the feel of a scenic neighborhood street rather than a high-speed thoroughfare yet provides much-improved accessibility to downtown Houston.

The project was people-centric (safety, parking, access to amenities, lighting, aesthetics) instead of vehicle-centric. The team implemented a variety of landscape and traffic control enhancements with little disruption to daily high-volume traffic flow.

The reimagined roadway provides additional safe pedestrian access points, barrier-free ADA compliance, bus parking, and 140 new parking spaces. It maintains as many trees as possible, repairs the deteriorating roadway, adds a vehicular bridge for U-turns, and improves bicycle access. The program required extensive coordination and numerous presentations to various agencies and the public. Also, during design, the Texas Department of Transportation changed how the IH 45 ramp connected to Allen Parkway, requiring a quick redesign.

Design shifted Allen Parkway to the south, utilized as much existing pavement as possible, rehabilitated the remaining pavement, and stayed within the existing right-of-way to reduce construction time and save money. The design transformed an unused frontage road into fully integrated travel lanes, which moves high-speed traffic away from the park. Five new pedestrian/bicycle crossings tie into bike trails and link residential areas directly into the park.

The Allen Parkway Improvement Project transformed a 60-plus-year-old parkway into a modern, inviting, and context-sensitive thoroughfare that complements its surroundings and offers a welcoming entrance to downtown Houston.